The Pros and Cons of Infant Circumcision

With prior authorization from parents, who are responsible for this decision, many hospitals circumcise baby boys just hours after birth. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this practice?
The Pros and Cons of Infant Circumcision

Last update: 07 November, 2018

What is infant circumcision? Without a doubt, learning more about the procedure will help you understand the differing motives for this procedure.

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure that is most commonly performed on babies. It involves cutting the precipice (the skin that covers the tip of the penis) and exposing the underlying gland. For many, this is a controversial procedure.

The most common time period for circumcision is when a baby boy is 2 days old. However, Jews and Muslims perform this procedure when babies are 8 days old.

It usually causes a mild hemorrhage in children. However, it doesn’t require sutures. Rather, the wound heals on its own within 7 to 10 days, using a bandage .

Circumcision in the operating room

If you’re considering circumcising your son for medical reasons (such as phimosis), knowing what the procedure in the operating room is like will make you more comfortable.

It’s important to know that, while this is a controversial and elective surgery, it’s also simple. It takes very little time to perform. The circumcision procedure lasts between 10 or 20 minutes or, in most cases, an hour.

It all begins with a definitive decision between you and your partner to circumcise your child.

Once you’re sure, you’ll need to sign an authorization that expresses your consent of the procedure. By signing the form, you demonstrate that you’re conscious of the procedure and its risks.

There are hospitals and clinics that allow parents to be present during the operation. You should talk to your doctor beforehand to find out for sure if this is an option.

In general, an obstetrician will be the person to perform the procedure. However, different surgeons specialized in pediatrics can also perform infant circumcision.

The Pros and Cons of Infant Circumcision

During the operation, medical staff will first make sure to keep your baby from feeling any pain. In general, the procedure involves general anesthesia. 

In some cases, doctors use a tylenol suppository to prevent babies from experiencing discomfort. The effect can last for hours.

Then, in a question of minutes, the surgeon will cut your baby’s precipice – a very simple task. There are different techniques for this, including the Plastibell, the Gomco method and the Mogen method.

Once the surgery is over, surgical staff will apply vaseline to your child’s penis and cover the area with gauze. This will help avoid discomfort and keep the wound from rubbing against your baby’s diaper.

What’s great about this surgery is that it’s so simple. Your baby can go home the same day – there’s no need for further hospitalization .

“Circumcision doesn’t require sutures; the wound heals on its own within 7 to 10 days, using a bandage”

Benefits of infant circumcision

While it may seem strange, infant circumcision offers a variety of advantages in the long run, though they aren’t scientifically significant. Below is a list of these benefits:

  • If your son is circumcised, his chances of suffering from urinary illnesses will be lower.
  • A circumcised penis is easier to keep clean and free of infections.
  • Circumcised men have a lower chance of developing penis cancer. However, it’s worth pointing out that the chances are already slim – about 1 in 10,000.
  • Circumcision lowers the risk of contracting HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea from a partner that is infected.

Disadvantages of infant circumcision

Just like any surgical procedure, there are disadvantages to this operation. The negative consequences of circumcision in baby boys are very infrequent. They include the following:

  • If proper sterilization of the area doesn’t take place, the wound may become infected.
  • The baby may have difficulty urinating in the next 6 to 8 hours after surgery.
  • There are some cases in which the baby may develop fever.
  • Problems related to hemorrhage.
  • Loss of sensitivity in the gland, which has repercussions later on when it comes to sexual relations.

Without a doubt, infant circumcision in baby boys is one of the most controversial surgeries today. While the advantages aren’t significant, they still exist. Just the same, the final decision rests in the hands of the parents .

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.